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Director, Writing Centre

Date: August 1, 2016
Reports to (Job Title): Associate Vice-President, Academic
Jobs Reporting (Job Titles): Writing and Multimodal Communication Specialist; Administrative Assistant
Department: Writing Centre


Main Campus


USG 12
35 hr/wk

Primary Purpose

  The Director, Writing Centre is accountable to the Associate Vice-President, Academic for providing strategic leadership and effective management of the Writing Centre’s programs and services to advance the strategic direction of the university in the areas of writing and communication support for students. The incumbent liaises with academic faculties and departments and other academic and student services, directs budget and personnel decisions, engages in strategic planning activities, and ensures effective communication within and from the unit. Additionally, the Director is actively engaged in professional activities through professional associations and conferences, and should pursue research concerning writing centre studies, and/or writing and composition studies.

Key Accountabilities:


Strategic Direction and Leadership

  • Provide strategic leadership and direction to the Writing Centre by leading strategic planning projects (e.g. visioning, staffing, space allocation, budget allocation)
  • Provide strategic leadership to staff members for teaching activities, professional development, and development and delivery of programs, workshops, and services
  • Meet with faculty and student stakeholders and academic support partners  on campus to advocate for and promote writing and multimodal communication proficiency, and to advance practices related to writing process, writing across the curriculum, and writing in the disciplines
  • Represent and promote the Writing Centre at University-wide meetings and events




  • Organize and deploy staff to support undergraduate and graduate students in developing their writing and multimodal communication skills
  • Oversee the day-to-day operations of the Writing Centre, including programs, services, space, technology, and booking systems and processes
  • Oversee all writing- and communication-related student services including but not limited to provision of individual student support, workshops, writing groups, thesis and dissertation support, course-integrated support, resources, online learning modules, and other events and activities.
  • Implement and oversee appropriate indicators (e.g. workload levels, program policies, client feedback, metrics) in order to direct program delivery
  • Oversee the delivery and marking of the English Language Proficiency Exam (ELPE), when offered. Manage all ELPE files and electronic records, including communication with students, CEL, AccessAbility, and the Registrar’s Office
  • Oversee the Writing Centre’s involvement and participation in campus-wide events, including orientation, faculty days, fairs, and special events




Program Development and Administration

  • Oversee and/or initiate the preparation of proposals for new programming or services to develop writing and communication proficiency on campus
  • Oversee the development of such new programming and services
  • Oversee and/or initiate the development of learning resources
  • Partner with other academic support units, including the Library, the Office of Academic Integrity, the Centre for Teaching Excellence, the Centre for Extended Learning, the Centre for Career Action, WatPD, and the Student Success Office, to develop collaborative programs and services for students
  • Work closely with the Centre for Teaching Excellence to promote and support the effective teaching and evaluation of writing, to support the integration of writing in classroom contexts, to support supervisors of graduate theses, and to otherwise support the teaching of writing and communication at the University of Waterloo



Supervision and Hiring

  • Hire, supervise, and mentor staff
  • Conduct Annual Performance Appraisals for all full-time staff
  • Complete co-op student evaluations as needed
  • Develop and implement staff training and professional development programs to assure growth and development of those individuals for the role, department, and University
  • Oversee payroll for all casual and student staff



Liaison / Communication Work

  • Represent the University of Waterloo at regional, national, and international professional meetings and conferences, e.g. Canadian Writing Centre Association (CWCA), International Writing Center Association (IWCA), Canadian Association for Studies in Discourse and Writing (CASDW), Canadian Association for Studies in Language Learning (CASLL)
  • Network with writing centre directors at other institutions
  • Represent the Writing Centre on UW Committees and groups (e.g. Steering Committee on English Language Competency Initiatives (SCELCI)) as required
  • Liaise between senior administration and Writing Centre staff
  • Meet and consult with Directors and Managers of related units on campus (e.g. the Library, the Office of Academic Integrity, the Centre for Teaching Excellence, the Centre for Extended Learning, the Centre for Career Action, WatPD, AccessAbility, the Student Success Office), as well as with Deans and Chairs of all faculties and relevant academic departments
  • Meet and consult with student stakeholders, including representatives from FEDS, GSA, and other student groups
  • Oversee all outgoing communications and publications from the Writing Centre, including marketing and promotional materials and the Writing Centre website.
  • Provide reports on activities and services to relevant bodies, including the Student Services Advisory Committee (SSAC) and SCELCI, annually or as required.



Budget and Financial Oversight

  • Develop the annual budget for the department for approval by the Associate Vice-President, Academic and the Vice-President, Academic & Provost
  • Oversee and approve all expenditures and maintain financial records for the department



Teaching / Course-Integrated Support

  • Design and deliver workshops as needed for specific courses and programs, in conjunction with other units (e.g. CTE), and as part of the Writing Centre’s programming
  • Meet with faculty and instructors to design course-integrated supports from the Writing Centre, as requested

Position Requirements


Master’s degree or equivalent in a related field is required; a PhD completed or in progress is preferred


Management experience in a university setting is required, ideally in an academic support unit or student service department. Must demonstrate strong management skills particularly around thinking strategically, leading a team, managing competing priorities. Must have proven ability to take initiative and to be both creative and flexible. Strong oral and written communication skills, solid organizational skills, and sound judgment are required. Must be able to work collaboratively, maintain confidentiality, be sensitive to the needs and interests of various stakeholders, and contribute to the functioning of a diverse team


MS Word Excel PowerPoint Other
Intermediate Intermediate Intermediate other

Nature and Scope

Interpersonal Skills:

Able to work with students, staff, and faculty across campus independently and as part of a team. able to communicate with clarity, diplomacy, and tact both orally and in writing

Level of Responsibility:

Responsible for managing staff and for strategic program development and delivery to help support the University’s Strategic Plan for communication proficiency. Calls for self-initiated, detail-oriented strategic thinking and excellent time management skills.

Decision-Making Authority:

Responsible for hiring, training, and supervising staff. Makes informed decisions relating to the strategic direction of the Writing Centre and the most effective methods of supporting students. Determines the optimum course of action to solve problems and to exert a positive influence on other stakeholders.

Physical and Sensory Demands:

Minimal demands typical of a position operating within a fast-paced service-oriented office environment; extensive periods of sitting and concentrated use of visual senses. Requires close attention to detail, thoroughness, and accuracy.

Working Environment:

Located in a comfortable indoor area. Frequent occasions of high demand for service. Weekend and evening work is sometimes required. Minimal exposure to disagreeable conditions typical of a supervisory position, one where it is occasionally necessary to convey negative or unwelcome information to students or staff.